Annelise from A* Equestrian helps you set your riding goals in this month’s Coach’s Corner.

Winter is well and truly making itself known, and as the days get shorter, it’s likely that our motivation, both in and out of the saddle can start to waiver.

Do you use this time effectively? Or do you get to spring and start again from square one because you haven’t put the work in during the winter season?

There are things we can do to make things a teeny bit easier (unless we move to a sunnier climate, it’s still going to be hard work!).

Goal setting is a sure-fire way to keep the motivation flowing. Even in the darkest, coldest times, a simple piece of goal setting can make all the difference!

To make goal setting work for you, there are six golden rules that must be followed in order to smash through these winter blues and keep things moving forward!


If your goal doesn’t make you excited about the future, then it’s not the one!

Don’t try and achieve something because someone else wants you to, or because you want to be like someone else, do it because you WANT IT!

Do what makes you happy, and aim to be really good at that.

If you really do want it, then those brisk, dark evenings will be no contest for your mojo!


Make sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T, that’s specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound.

Specific – Make sure your goals are clear and well defined. Making them too open can leave you confused whether you’re moving in the right direction and if you’ve achieved them!

Measurable – Choose a date, or an amount to keep track of what you’ve done and where you are headed. For example, achieved a certain amount of good transitions in one schooling session.

Achievable – Don’t feel that you must go as far as the danger zone. Just move into the stretch zone, which is a little bit out of your comfort zone. A goal that’s set too far in the danger zone can have a detrimental effect and cause you to lose confidence.

Relevant – Ensure your goal is based around something that you actually want to do. An irrelevant goal will not get you out of bed in the morning!

Time-bound – Put a deadline on it. You can be flexible with this and allow for challenges to appear that you cant change, but you need to have the timeframe there in the first place!


Make sure your goal is in black and white. When you actually write it, make it short and sweet. Just the action of writing something down can cement it in our minds.


The screensaver on your phone or laptop, a post-it note in the cupboard where the mugs go, a note on your bedside table, maybe one in your car.

Put it everywhere. You’ll be constantly reminded of what you’re aiming for, and it could just give you a boost when you need it the most!


An action plan can help breakdown your goals into smaller, bitesize aims.

I have attached a free template below that I created for my clients, so you can simply print out and complete with your coach or on your own.


You’re responsible for your own choices and your own progression and achievements. You can’t control everything, but you can control what you put in!

Get your coach, or a close friend involved, so they can help you be accountable.
So there we have it. I’ve also attached a cheat-sheet that you can print out and use, so you should have all of the tools needed to set these goals and keep the ball rolling over the winter!

Happy goal setting, and Merry Christmas!!
Find more tips from Annelise on her Facebook page